March 6, 2010 / 4:34 AM / 10 years ago

U.S. repudiates U.N. council remarks on Mideast clash

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A U.S. official denied on Friday that Washington had consented to a U.N. Security Council statement to reporters voicing concern about the fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinians.

Gabon’s U.N. Ambassador Emmanuel Issoze-Ngondet, president of the Security Council for March, read the nonbinding remarks on behalf the 15 council members after a closed-door discussion of the violent clashes.

“The members of the Security Council expressed their concern at the current tense situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, including east Jerusalem,” Issoze-Ngondet said.

“They urged all sides to show restraint and avoid provocative acts,” he said after a closed-door meeting. “They stressed that peaceful dialogue was the only way forward and looked forward to an early resumption of negotiations.”

The U.S. envoy at the meeting, Deputy Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo, did not speak to reporters at the Security Council stakeout after the meeting.

A U.S. official, however, told Reuters on condition of anonymity that the American delegation had not agreed with the statement and said it was adopted due to what the official described as “procedural confusion.”

It was not immediately clear what the “confusion” was.

Several council diplomats familiar with the negotiations on the statement, however, told Reuters that the U.S. delegation made no attempt to raise any objections to the final version of the text, which they said was adopted by consensus.

Earlier on Friday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of trying to wreck peace efforts and spark unrest across the Middle East by police provocation at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest spot in Islam, which stands on ground also revered by Jews as the site of their biblical Temple.

The tension comes ahead of a relaunch of U.S.-mediated peace negotiations, and two days before U.S. President Barack Obama’s envoy George Mitchell visits Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The permanent Palestinian observer to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, welcomed the council statement, adding that the apparent U.S. decision not to block it “is a signal that the United States wants this effort to succeed” and Israel to restrain itself.

One Western diplomat noted that Mansour had failed to point out that the statement read out by Issoze-Ngondet had called on “all sides” to show restraint, not just Israel.

Council press statements are agreed by consensus, but they are nonbinding and not part of the official council record. Historically, the U.S. delegation has a tendency to block Security Council statements condemning Israel.

Editing by Xavier Briand and Eric Walsh

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